The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution

grudemThis book is scheduled to release at the end of the month:

Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus. The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 398 pp.

I’ve skimmed it, and it’s what I expected from Grudem: well-organized, clear, comprehensive, and compelling. It’s helpful to start by carefully reading the detailed version of the contents (pp. 11–18). [Read more…]

Wayne Grudem on the Jason Bourne Films

Bourne_0Wayne Grudem evaluates the Jason Bourne films (his critique applies to The Bourne Legacy as well) when he discusses the CIA in Politics—According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 424–25:


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the primary organization that gathers and analyzes information about other countries, especially about potential enemies of the United States. In other words, the CIA coordinates America’s spy network abroad. [Read more…]

Mike Bullmore on How Christians Should Think about the Next Presidential Election

I highlighted this four years ago, and I encountered it again last week when re-listening to Mike Bullmore’s sermons on 1 Corinthians 12–14. It’s so good it’s worth highlighting again.

On October 26, 2008, Mike Bullmore prefaced his sermon with an outstanding 135-second pastoral exhortation in light of the upcoming election on November 4, 2008. I think he’d say the same thing re the upcoming election on November 6, 2012 (two weeks from today).

An excerpt:

There’s something more important than your voting next Tuesday . . . and that is where your confidence is, where your security is. . . . Let there be no loss of confidence in the goodness of God. Let there be no loss of security, whoever is in office. . . . There’s no cause no matter what happens—ever—for those who belong to God to worry or complain or whine.

Listen to the whole thing (2:15 min.).

Voting as a Christian

These two books are shortened versions of Wayne Grudem’s larger book Politics :

Cf. my coauthored review of Grudem’s book Politics.

Are Profits Moral?

Four men—two businessmen and two theologians—coauthor an answer to that question and reach this conclusion:

Clearly, in the biblical system of ethics, profit is godly if it is gained in God’s way. And surprisingly, this means that not making a profit may also be a sin against God, one’s neighbor and oneself!

Adam Smith established by rational evaluation that profit making was an inherent part of human conduct as it worked itself out in the social environment of human culture. What Adam Smith described was actually a traditional perspective of the Reformed tradition as evidenced by Max Weber. This is not only evident in Weber’s analysis, however. It is in fact established by a careful reading of the Reformed tradition’s classic ethical treatise, the Westminster Larger Catechism. And this serves to underscore how an inherent hostility to profits gained in a just manner is actually an expression of the socialistic spirit that emanates  from Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

While there clearly can be “obscene profits” under the Calvinistic system, that is, a violation of one’s duty to God and man in acquiring profits, it must also be maintained that profit making itself is not inherently obscene. If such were not the case, the parable of the talents given by our Lord could not righteously include the words to the faithful steward in Matthew 25:26–27, “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest” (NIV).

—Philip J. Clements, Peter Lillback, Wayne Grudem, and John Weiser, “Are Profits Moral? Answers from a Comparison of Adam Smith, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and the Westminster Larger Catechism,” in Business Ethics Today: Foundations (ed. Philip J. Clements; Philadelphia: Westminster Seminary Press, 2011), 160–61.


1. Phil Clements interviews Peter Lillback about the Reformed faith and capitalism:

2. Wayne Grudem begins to answer the question, “What is at risk for business if we lose a Christian worldview?”

3. “If I Become Rich, Won’t Someone Else Become Poor?

If I Become Rich, Won’t Someone Else Become Poor?

This is the most readable defense of capitalism I’ve read (and it’s more relevant than ever with the recent “Occupy Wall Street”-type protests):

Jay W. Richards. Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem. New York: HarperOne, 2009.

Richards debunks eight myths, which are listed in the book’s table of contents:

  1. Can’t We Build a Just Society? Myth no. 1: The Nirvana Myth (contrasting capitalism with an unrealizable ideal rather than with its live alternatives)
  2. What Would Jesus Do? Myth no. 2: The Piety Myth (focusing on our good intentions rather than the unintended consequences of our actions)
  3. Doesn’t Capitalism Foster Unfair Competition? Myth no. 3: The Zero-sum Game Myth (believing that trade requires a winner and a loser)
  4. If I Become Rich, Won’t Someone Else Become Poor? Myth no. 4: The Materialist Myth (believing that intellect cannot create new wealth)
  5. Isn’t Capitalism Based on Greed? Myth no. 5: The Greed Myth (believing that the essence of capitalism is greed)
  6. Hasn’t Christianity Always Opposed Capitalism? Myth no. 6: The Usury Myth (believing that charging interest on money is always exploitive)
  7. Doesn’t Capitalism Always Lead to an Ugly Consumerist Culture? Myth no. 7: The Artsy Myth (confusing aesthetic judgments with economic arguments)
  8. Are We Going to Use Up All the Resources? Myth no. 8: The Freeze Frame Myth (believing that things always stay the same—for example, assuming population trends will continue indefinitely or treating “rich” and “poor” as static categories)
  9. Conclusion: Working All Things Together for Good
  10. Appendix: Is the “Spontaneous Order” of the Market Evidence of a Universe without Purpose?

Here are some excerpts from chapter 4:

Winston Churchill summed up the dilemma with characteristic wit: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Most of us know perfectly well that socialist solutions are worse than the disease. (p. 83)

[Read more…]